As we have always said the best way to increase your wine knowledge and skills is to do"blind" wine tasting. We joined Tex, Gidget and Michael at Marche Bacchus for some "work".
Jeff Wyatt , owner of Marche Bacchus was given the task of finding two blind wines for us. As he walked toward us with the decanted wine we all waited with anticipation.
Jeff poured the wine in our glasses and we went to work.
The color was a deep dark red and appeared medium to full bodied in the glass. We had differing opinions of the nose. There were opinions on both sides New World vs Old World. Most of us agreed this was a blend and most likely Cabernet Sauvignon. Other members suggested a blend with Syrah as well. This was a nice well balanced wine that had a long finish with medium to heavy tannins.
Jeff appeared with the bottle hiding in a brown bag ! We gave Jeff our opinions and he smiled when on of our group suggested it was Old World, Cabernet Sauvignon blend that could be Italian. Jeff placed the bottle in front of the person that got this one right !! He read the bottle as Lumen IGT Illuminati from Italy.
We did some research on this wine and found some interesting facts. Lumen was conceived by Dino Illuminati and the eminent enologist, Dott. Marone, assistant to the famous enologist Dott. Giamoco Tachis, to serve as a vehicle to show how red wine from Abruzzo can achieve a world class status.
This famous team of enologists,renown for their role as the architects of such great wines like "Sassicaia", "Tinganello" and "Solaia", created another great red wine, a blending of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is primarily Montepulciano blended with varying percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the outcome of the harvest. The 1993 vintage was the premier release of this wine. From mature vines only the outer clusters of ripe grapes go into this wine.
Free run juice is gathered and the remaining grape pomace is gently pressed.At the end of the secondary fermentation .The two wines were put together in small 225 ltr casks of different qualities of oak and aged for 18 to 24 months. The wine rested in bottles in the cellar, for more than one year before its release.
The area around Controguerra and Nereto is situated on the North of the Abruzzo region, between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea and is endowed with a fortunate, natural position for its climate and renowned from ancient times for its vineyards.It was here that Nico Illuminati, an impassioned master in the art of wine making, lived during the latter half of the last century. Around the year 1890 he initiated the activity of wine production and set up the then known Estate of Nico - "Fattoria di Nico."
The Estate vineyards extend over 150 acres of the finest terrain of the whole region. The nature of the terrain is a perfectly balanced mix of clay and sand with marked presence of siliceous substances (potash, magnesium, lime, and components of silicate). The terrain is loose, deep, and fertile on considerably high, hilly grounds, twelve hundred to fifteen hundred feet above sea level.All of the vineyards have south/southwestern exposure. At present there are 150 acres of vineyards in production which makes the Estate the largest privately owned winery in the region.
Jeff Wyatt appeared once more with another decanted wine. Jeff poured the second wine and we went to work once again. The nose on this wine once again gave us mixed opinions and we were spit between New World vs Old World. There were hints of red fruit, cassis and licorice on the palate. Some of the group suggested it was a Cabernet Sauvignon blend and possibly with Merlot. Because of these characteristics some suggested it could be a french Bordeaux blend. This wine was very elegant and finished with moderate tannins and smokey oak. Jeff brought us the bottle and explained it was a Juslyn Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain 2001. This wine was magnificent and scored 92 points from Robert Parker in February of 2005.
A further examination of the bottle found this wine is made in a Bordeaux style with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot , Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Good job to those who suggested it could be a Bordeaux blend.
Juslyn vineyards was founded by Carolyn and Perry Butler on a site overlooking the renowned Spring Mountain Winery. In 1998, they made their first vintage of Juslyn from grapes purchased. In 2000, they harvested their estate for the first time to produce 80 cases of Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.
Winemaker Craig MacLean who holds a n Masters Degree from the University of California, Davis has done a great job with this wine and has really shown Juslyn wines that display elegance in the style of Bordeaux.